Penn State agrees to football series with Temple, Villanova and Delaware
The games will start in 2021 and end in 2027.
Penn State announced Thursday that it has scheduled a total of six football games against Temple, Villanova and Delaware over the next decade.
The Nittany Lions will visit Temple in 2026 and host the Owls in 2027. Their two games against Villanova, in 2021 and 2025, will take place at Beaver Stadium. Delaware also will visit Happy Valley twice, in 2023 and 2027.
The Lions and Owls have played 45 times, the last time in 2016 when Penn State gained a 34-27 win at home. Temple had broken a long drought the year before, defeating the Nittany Lions, 27-10, at Lincoln Financial Field for only their fourth win in the series.
Temple's discussions with Penn State were reported here last month.
"We are excited to add this non-conference series to our future football schedule," Pat Kraft, Temple's director of athletics, said in a statement. "When the Owls have taken on Penn State in the past, there has always been added excitement, and I am thrilled to get this series back on the schedule. We want to provide our fans with marquee matchups here at home and within travel distance on the road and Penn State fits that bill."
Penn State has played Villanova nine times, with the last meeting in 1951. Delaware will be playing the Nittany Lions for the first time.
"We are excited about the opportunity to get Penn State on the schedule," Villanova coach Mark Ferrante said. "Playing two games in one of the best atmospheres in college football will be a great experience for our team. I think the Nova Nation will be excited to make the trip to Happy Valley. This game makes a lot of sense for us on a number of levels."
The announcement marks the first time Penn State has scheduled FCS opponents since 2017 when the Big Ten lifted the rule banning such a practice. The conference had been concerned that scheduling FCS teams would hurt its teams' strength-of-schedule rating in discussing potential candidates for the College Football Playoff.
However, commissioner Jim Delany said last year that Big Ten teams could play FCS teams in years when the nine-game conference schedule provides four home games for a team. For the Nittany Lions, the four-game conference home slate takes place in odd-numbered years.
The Lions, who haven't played an FCS team since Indiana State in 2011, actually will be playing one in Idaho in the 2019 season opener. The Vandals, however, were an FBS team when Penn State added them to their schedule.
"Playing two games in one of the best atmospheres in college football will be a great experience for our team," Ferrante said. "I think Nova Nation will be excited to make the trip to Happy Valley. This game makes a lot of sense for us on a number of levels."
Delaware coach Danny Rocco began his college career at Penn State before transferring to Wake Forest. His father, Frank, worked for the Penn State football program for more than 20 years.